Washington: United States President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico if the country does not step up its enforcement actions.
The President, in a White House statement cited by CNN, said that the first round of tariffs would begin on June 10 at five per cent “on all goods imported from Mexico.”
The statement stated that Trump would carry out his threat under authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and that he would lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.”
It further warned that if Mexico did not act as Trump demanded, tariffs would go up to 10 per cent by July, 15 per cent by August, 20 per cent by September and reach 25 per cent by October.
According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, Washington imports of Mexican goods, including cars, machinery and agricultural products, accumulated to around USD 346.5 billion in 2018.
The President preceded the statement with a pair of tweets promising that the rising tariffs would stay in place until immigration flows are cut off.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” the President tweeted.
“The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied at which time the Tariffs will be removed,” he added.
On Thursday, Trump said that he has a “major statement” forthcoming on illegal immigration into the United States from the southern border.
“It will be a statement having to do with the border and having to do with people illegally coming over the border and it will be my biggest statement so far on the border,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The President declined to provide further details about his announcement but said he is not closing the southern border to immigration.
“I’m not closing the border, I’m doing something else,” Trump was quoted as saying.
The President said his announcement is expected either Thursday or Friday.
“This is a big league statement. We are going to do something very dramatic on the border because people are coming into our country,” he added.
In the last several days there has been a mass of migrants apprehended crossing the border illegally.
On Wednesday, a group of more than 1,000 were apprehended by the Border Patrol, which one Department of Homeland Security official said was the largest group of migrants ever apprehended together.